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Some size comparisons between the Techo and the new Avec version. I can’t read Japanese, but think I’ll prefer the layout and smaller grid of the Avec. I definitely like the thiner size.The difference wil be a bit lower once both are used. Right now the Hobo is over 1/2 used while the Avec is still pristine. I rarely tape anything in my Techo, FWIW.

Both covers are ones that I made, and are available (or will be in the Avec’s case) at wmsbag.com

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Amtrak’s new roll-on service

One of Amtrak’s new ACS-64 locomotives.

The bike racks ARE (finally) coming! They’ve been in the works for a long time, but were contingent on Amtrak getting new baggage cars, as opposed to retrofitting the existing cars. And the new cars are finally on the way.

BUT, there are some potential problems with how it is set up now if you want to use a baggage car and your route isn’t directly served by the route. What’s that mean? If you want to go WAS-NYC, BAL-PGH, PHL-BOS your options are limited. Read on!

I should note that how it’ll actually work in practice has yet to be determined. These cars aren’t in service and how they’ll be used hasn’t been finalized. There was one trial on the Capitol Limited which purportedly went well. 
First, you’ll still have to go to a destination that has baggage service. This means that if you want to ride the GAP or C&O, you’ll have to get off at Pittsburgh. Harper’s Ferry, Connellsville and Cumberland don’t have baggage service. Not sure if this will change, but I’d really doubt it for Connellsville, since there aren’t any employees at that station.
The GAP trail between Pittsburgh and Connellsville.
The REAL big catch with this depends on where you are boarding and where you are going. If you’re going to New Orleans on the Crescent, or DC-Pittsburgh, then it’s not a problem. If you want to travel with a bike on the Northeast Corridor (from DC/BAL to Philadelphia, New York, Boston, etc.), then it becomes troublesome. Likewise if you are boarding somewhere besides DC and intending to go to Pittsburgh. If you want to travel within the domain of the Northeast Regional trains with a bike you currently only have two options for baggage service - Amtrak 79 (the Carolinian) southbound, and Amtrak 66 (Northeast Regional) northbound. 79 leaves Baltimore at 9.45AM. 66 leaves Baltimore at 10.53PM.
This also means that if you want to board somewhere besides DC to head towards Pittsburgh, you’ll have to use 66 or 79. As of now, you typically can’t board one of the long distance trains if your destination is on the corridor. Even calling guest services, they wouldn’t let me pretend book on of the long distance trains within the corridor. I’m getting conflicting information on this - Amtrak’s twitter says you can’t get baggage service on the corridor, the online service will let you sometimes (you can book the southbound Cardinal, NYC-ALX, but not NYC-WAS, and can’t book the northbound Cardinal to NYC from either location), and guest services told me about baggage services on 66 and 79. Please note that Amtrak 66 is a northeast regional train, and not this handsome locomotive:

One of the Amtrak Heritage units

In sum, if your route is only served by a long distance train, everything is fine (once the new cars get here). If you have to transfer to a long distance train, you have limited options. If you want to travel within the domain of the Northeast Regional trains, you have one option in each direction. 
Again, this program isn’t in place and things may change once the cars enter revenue service, but I think it would be a good idea to politely express your concern to Amtrak that cyclists can’t currently access many of these trains with baggage cars. I understand the underlying reason — these trains have worse on-time performance than the NER trains and being discharge only helps speed up the trains if they are running behind, but being able to call and book these trains, and reserve a bike spot would be great. 

My Brompton and a Norfolk Southern engine at Washington Union station.

And please let me know if anything I’ve said here is incorrect, but it is accurate, AFAIK.
And this is all moot if you have a folding bike :) Folding bikes are always allowed on any Amtrak train.

My Brompton is fond of trains.
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Like you I have a bunch of social media accounts on the Internet. In order to keep them straight in my own head, this is how I’ll be pushing my photo stuff to them from now on:
Tumblr - photos where I want to tell a story or further explain what it means to me.
Flickr - A general photo warehouse. Everything goes there, basically.
500PX - More of a portfolio. Definitely more thematic than Flickr. Only stuff that I really like. I plan on keeping <100 photos on here. Likely many less than this. Codywms.com also links directly to here.
I’m not really using Twitter or Facebook for photo stuff anymore, unless there is a specific reason. Pinterest and Google+ are functionally abandoned.

Like you I have a bunch of social media accounts on the Internet. In order to keep them straight in my own head, this is how I’ll be pushing my photo stuff to them from now on:

Tumblr - photos where I want to tell a story or further explain what it means to me.

Flickr - A general photo warehouse. Everything goes there, basically.

500PX - More of a portfolio. Definitely more thematic than Flickr. Only stuff that I really like. I plan on keeping <100 photos on here. Likely many less than this. Codywms.com also links directly to here.

I’m not really using Twitter or Facebook for photo stuff anymore, unless there is a specific reason. Pinterest and Google+ are functionally abandoned.

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Chicago skyline and railcars on Flickr.
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Wisconsin on Flickr.

Wisconsin on Flickr.

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Still out there on Flickr.The Chessie System hasn&#8217;t been around for a while, but some of the cars are still floating out there. This is one the far siding of the MARC/CSX classification yard. This car didn&#8217;t have a CSXT number on it, but the adjacent car  did. I wouldn&#8217;t be surprised if it had been sitting idle for a while.

Still out there on Flickr.

The Chessie System hasn’t been around for a while, but some of the cars are still floating out there. This is one the far siding of the MARC/CSX classification yard. This car didn’t have a CSXT number on it, but the adjacent car did. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been sitting idle for a while.

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Abe was here on Flickr.A long exposure of the Lincoln Memorial

Abe was here on Flickr.

A long exposure of the Lincoln Memorial

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Tractors 1 on Flickr.One of the 100+ tractors inhabiting this field.

Tractors 1 on Flickr.

One of the 100+ tractors inhabiting this field.

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RCB 1 on Flickr.More barns this weekend. Words coming at some point.

RCB 1 on Flickr.

More barns this weekend. Words coming at some point.

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Big and little on Flickr.Trains and bikes &#8212; two of my favorite things. The Brompton makes it much easier to travel by train. I take commuter rail about half the month, and throwing the Brompton on is easy. On my limited Amtrak trips with the bike (only three) it has been straightforward, but there are stories out there of unfriendly Amtrak employees. I hope to have a couple of train and brompton trips coming up, but we&#8217;ll see if I can find time. And sometime soon I&#8217;ll write about my failed trip on the GAP trail.

Big and little on Flickr.

Trains and bikes — two of my favorite things. The Brompton makes it much easier to travel by train. I take commuter rail about half the month, and throwing the Brompton on is easy. On my limited Amtrak trips with the bike (only three) it has been straightforward, but there are stories out there of unfriendly Amtrak employees. I hope to have a couple of train and brompton trips coming up, but we’ll see if I can find time. And sometime soon I’ll write about my failed trip on the GAP trail.